Continuous Sexual Abuse
A person commits the offense of continuous sexual abuse of a young child if, during a period of thirty or more days, the person commits two or more acts of sexual abuse. See Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 21.02(b)(1). At the time of each act of sexual abuse, the actor must be 17 years of age or older, and the victim must be younger than fourteen. Id. § 21.02(b)(2).
The penalties for this offense are extremely serious. Never talk to any law enforcement officer about such allegations until after you have spoken to an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Houston Continuous Sexual Abuse Lawyer
Matt Horak represents clients charged with a variety of serious felony charges, including continuous sexual abuse of a child in the greater Houston area, including all of Harris County and the surrounding areas, including The Woodlands and Montgomery County, Texas. Call Horak Law locally at (713) 225-8000 or toll-free at (800) 225-8009 to discuss your case.
Overview of Continuous Sexual Abuse Charges
Texas Penal Code § 21.02(c) provides that an “act of sexual abuse” is an act that violates one or more specified penal laws, including any one or more of the following:
- indecency with a child by contact;
- aggravated sexual assault of a child;
- sexual assault of a child; and
- sexual performance by a child.
“Section 21.02 ... became effective September 1, 2007, and it does not apply to an offense committed before that date.” See Flores v. State, 13-12-00606-CR, 2014 WL 1514129 (Tex. App. Apr. 17, 2014)(quoting Martin v. State, 335 S.W.3d 867, 873 (Tex.App.-Austin 2011, pet ref'd) (citing Act of May 18, 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., ch. 593, §§ 1.17, 4.01(a), 2007 Tex. Gen. Laws 1120, 1127, 1148)).
“An offense is committed before the effective date of the statute if any element of the offense occurs before that date.” Id. “It is a longstanding rule that the State is not required to prove that an offense was committed on the date alleged in the indictment (whether or not the words ‘on or about’ are used) but may prove that the offense was committed on any date prior to the return of the indictment and within the period of limitations.” Id. (citing Klein v. State, 273 S.W.3d 297, 304 n. 5 (Tex.Crim.App.2008)).
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has interpreted section 21.02 of the Penal Code, Continuous Sexual Abuse of Young Child or Children in Soliz v. State, 353 S.W.3d 850, 851–53 (Tex.Crim.App.2011) to mean that: “if the defendant committed ten aggravated sexual assaults against the victim, the State could not decide to pursue two § 21.02 counts encompassing five incidents apiece” within the time period at issue. Id. at 852.
Section 21.02(f) provides:
A defendant may not be charged with more than one count under Subsection (b) if all of the specific acts of sexual abuse that are alleged to have been committed are alleged to have been committed against a single victim. Tex. Penal Code § 21.02(f).
Under Texas Penal Code § 21.02(b) (“A person commits an offense if ... during a period that is 30 or more days in duration, the person commits two or more acts of sexual abuse, regardless of whether the acts of sexual abuse are committed against one or more [child] victims [.]”).
Horak Law - A Houston Attorney for Continuous Sexual Abuse Charges
If you are charged with any sex crime, including the serious criminal charge of committing continuous sexual abuse on a child in Southeast Texas, then contact experienced Houston criminal defense attorney Matt Horak. Call Horak Law locally at (713) 225-8000 or toll-free at (800) 225-8009 today to discuss your case and possible defenses to these serious felony charges.